Efforts to help residents of Lushan in Sichuan province rebuild their homes, construct new ones and restore the region after an earthquake two years ago are nearly complete.
By the end of March, the central government had allocated about 44 billion yuan ($7.1 billion) to the earthquake-hit regions in Sichuan to help with “reconstruction, ecological restoration, geological disaster prevention and economic development”, Zhao Changsheng, head of emergency response coordination at the Ministry of Finance, told a news conference in Beijing.
“We have almost completed the central government’s subsidy programs for Lushan,” Zhao said. “The ministry is also cooperating with other government bodies to provide tax rebates for enterprises and individuals affected by the disaster, significantly reducing their financial burdens.”
The Sichuan provincial finance department has carried out five inspections of reconstruction work, the use of relief materials and expenditures of donated and allocated funds and auditors have not found any instances of misconduct, Zhao said.
Lai Hongzhou, chief of the Ministry of Civil Affairs’ disaster relief division, said his group has also been working with the Finance Ministry and local authorities to issue allowances to those who lost family members during the quake, as well as to others affected by the disaster and its aftermath.
“By now, all the 266,200 houses in Lushan that were damaged by the earthquake have been reinforced. We also assisted the local government in the construction of nearly 93,000 new houses,” Lai said.
More efforts are being made to improve the lives of Lushan’s residents, said Zhang Zhiqing, head of rural ecological management at the National Development and Reform Commission, the country’s top economic planner.
The commission has been working with the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development and the China Earthquake Administration to revise local buildings’ seismic standards, he said.
“We have been encouraging local people to take part in the planning, relocation and reconstruction of their homes,” Zhang said.
“We have also followed environmental protection principles in the reconstruction process, which have effectively improved the region’s environment.”